Friday, September 9, 2016

Tested Tough: Belmar, New Jersey, USA

Ryley and Kane "twinning" in the OBX, 2015.
Last year, while vacationing in the Outer Banks of North Carolina we were on a hunt, a hunt for clothes and shoes for the kids. It seems I had forgotten to communicate that I was taking the boys out fishing on a boat and my son, Jacob, didn’t have appropriate footwear and Kane and Ryley didn’t have any decent SPF shirts to wear out in the ocean. We searched high and low for shoes but came up empty, much like our trip for cobia would be. But we happened into TW Tackle and found some Columbia PFG long sleeve shirts and swimming trunks on the marked down rack. SCORE! We ended up being able to find both Ryley and Kane matching outfits (much to their dismay). Unfortunately scoring a good deal was about the only good thing to come out of that fishing trip.

Ryley and I holding up his mahi.
Over the last year I have found it increasingly difficult to find any suitable fishing cloths for Ryley. There are only a handful of companies who make active wear for kids his size, Pelagic, AFTCO and Columbia PFG. Pelagic makes some good quality swim trunks and shirts but they are a bit on the pricey side, $50 just for a pair of trunks. AFTCO is not as expensive but still up there in terms of price. But if you pay attention to their website you can find a deal every now and then. That left me with Columbia PFG. The shirt and trunks from last year still fit him fine but we needed to get him at least another outfit for our upcoming trips. It just so happened that we were headed to the Columbia outlet store to pick up some gear for summer camp, so I decided to search for some Columbia PFG (Professional Fishing Gear) gear for Ryley as well. While at the store we settled on another PFG terminal tackle long sleeve shirt, a pair of Solar Stream II Boardshorts and a PFG mesh ball cap.

Mr Columbia PFG himself with his peanut mahi.
The Skinny: We tested out these items on our latest trip 60 miles off the coast of New Jersey chasing Mahi. Ryley stayed in his shirt, trunks and hat (also his PFD- Personal Flotation Device) the entire day and didn’t complain about any of it. We were out on the water for 13 hours in total with sunny weather and a slight breeze. He ended up sleeping, fishing and just hanging out in his Columbia outfit. I considered that fact that he caught fish in them an added bonus!

Ryley taking a nap as we head offshore.
Hits: What can I say except that the Columbia PFG clothes are comfortable? So comfortable that Ryley fell asleep in them wearing a PFD. So comfortable that he wore the PFD for 13 hours and didn’t have any chafing or discomfort. The cloths also protected him from the sun by either completely blocking out the harmful rays (long sleeved shirt) or by shading his body (brim of the hat shading his face). I only applied sunscreen when we first got on the boat and didn’t reapply any the entire day (much to my wife’s dismay if she is reading this). Also the clothing holds up to normal wear. Ryley has worn his older set of PFG clothes for an entire year and they haven’t faded and are still going strong. As stated above another plus is the Columbia PFG cloths for kids are very affordable. If you find that you have a Columbia Outlet near you they are downright cheap with all the markdowns and specials they regularly have. On top of that Columbia has a rewards program (what retailed doesn’t have one these days?) so you can end up getting even more money off at the end of the day.

Misses: Obviously after my glowing review of the Columbia PFG line of cloths for youth I don’t have much to complain about. I honestly would only offer suggestions to improve upon an otherwise great set of products. I would just suggest that Columbia increase its line of fishing related clothing for youth. There is not much variety in terms of the pieces of clothing they offer, but there is variety in the colors they offer for each article of clothing.

In the end Ryley and I have been immensely satisfied with the Columbia PFG gear we bought him. As he continues to grow in the years to come we are going to definitely add to our arsenal of fishing clothing for him and I can say without a doubt the Columbia PFG will make up a bulk of that arsenal. If you are in search of fishing apparel for your young boy or girl give Columbia a shot I don’t think you will regret it. Until then keep taking your kids outdoors… 

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